The rescue party descends the mountain, with the lights of Aviemore in the distance. Photo: Cairngorm MRT

The rescue party descends the mountain, with the lights of Aviemore in the distance. Photo: Cairngorm MRT

Rescuers’ local knowledge paid off in finding a walker lost in the dark on a Cairngorms mountain.

Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team members followed a hunch that the lost man might be in a particular place on Braeriach as they searched in visibility as low as 10m.

The team was called out at 5.30pm on Friday when the man called for help when he was unable to descend from the mountain after getting disoriented in mist and wind.

The Inverness Coastguard helicopter was able to airlift about a dozen rescuers on to the mountain, and the search for the man began, in thick mist, driving drizzle and a strong breeze.

A team spokesperson said: “The search was made a bit demanding as the visibility dropped to 10m maximum in the murk. Then it got dark.”

The hillwalker was found at 11.30pm, high on the mountain, and was then half-supported and half-carried below the cloudbase, where the helicopter was able to airlift him to safety.

The spokesperson said: “Thanks are due to R951 [the Coastguard helicopter crew] who came back for the sodden hill parties as well. It made a long night about two hours shorter.”

Team leader Willie Anderson said: “I don’t mind admitting that I was getting a bit concerned.

“We had very little to go on in terms of where this gentleman was likely to have gone in the mist, and anyone who has been on Braeriach knows that it is a massive, complex hill, with a featureless plateau, ringed by cliffs and crags.

“All we knew was that he was still very high, but tucked out of the wind in boulders, which was good for his welfare, but was going to make spotting him tricky.

“The hill parties had done a great job of searching in dreadful visibility, but we knew that we were running out of options. Luckily, we have folk in the team who know these hills really well, and we reckoned that there was an outside chance that the gentleman had descended an isolated spur – which was where we found him.”

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